Children who receive the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine are significantly less likely to contract shingles, according to a new study led by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research published today in the journal Pediatrics.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 1 million cases of HZ each year in the United States. However, pediatric HZ is a rare disease, and the symptoms are usually milder for children compared with adults, who typically report a painful, burning, and blistering skin rash.
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“Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, we have known how effective it is in preventing children from contracting that itchy and painful disease, but we set out to determine if the vaccine would also reduce risk of herpes zoster,” explained lead investigator Sheila Weinmann, PhD. “Our findings demonstrate that the vaccine does reduce the likelihood of shingles in kids, highlighting the dual benefits of the chickenpox vaccine.”
The study, funded by the CDC, looked at the electronic health records of more than 6.3 million children between 2003 and 2014, using data from 6 integrated health care organizations. Approximately 50% of the children were vaccinated for some or all of the study period.
Read more at Kaiser Permanente
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